The secret struggles of every working 30-something

The secret struggles of every working 30-something

Oh the 30s. You never saw it coming, did you?

Thirty marks a lot of significant things for most people. But those who thoroughly enjoyed their 20s often refuse to welcome their 30s with open arms. Thinning hair line, a few wrinkles here and there, your waistline constantly under threat – who wants to be in their thirties anyway?

The middle ground between your quarter-life crisis and mid-life crisis may look like a safe ground for you to grow, develop and prosper in life and at work, but for some people, being in their 30s is a crisis in itself.

Not staying single…

You’ve been hard at work all this time and now this is what it has come to – you’re successful and/but single. It’s not like you decided to play the field so that you can find your perfect match – no, being single at this age wasn’t even your choice. Now you begin to think that something is legitimately wrong with you.

…or dealing with the pressure to settle

Being single is one thing and in fact it’s your thing, but when other people start asking questions, your “singlehood” also becomes their issue. You’re totally comfortable with single life and somehow you’re already used to it. You understand that all the hard work you’ve put into building your career comes with a price and it so happens that your love life is what needed to be sacrificed. Your parents (and some of your friends) however, have a trouble understanding this. Your cousin has just married, your younger brother/sister already has a child and most of your friends are either engaged or happily settled, living in their own house. You? Uhm, you’re 30, single and soon to be promoted – let’s leave it at that!

Adjusting to married/family life

While a lot of people in their 30s struggle not to stay single or continue deal with the pressure to settle, there are also those who strive to keep the balance between their work and family life. As if keeping your professional and personal life in check isn’t difficult enough, you begin to adopt new responsibilities which totally throw off all the possibility of balancing your work and your life outside work. Well, at least your parents are finally happy.

Keeping up with 20-somethings (a.k.a. not feeling old)

Dreamy eyed, optimistic and almost clueless about the workings of this world – twenty-year olds just don’t get it, do they? But they’re smarter, younger and more tech savvy as ever and sometimes they get you dreaming about how it is to be in your 20s again. It takes a conscious effort to keep up with them and you know that it’s just a matter of time before they end up in equal footing as you.

There’s also the fact that these younger folks are making you feel old. A part of the struggle is keeping yourself looking young and fresh amidst busy workdays, overtimes and ultra-tight deadlines. For the most part however, you struggle to feel young inside.

Asking for help

In your 30s, you’re supposed to have the better part of things figured – both in work and in life. You’re way past the stage that allows you to suffer from an identity crisis. Any sign on uncertainty at this age worries you. Whenever you need help especially in the office, there is always a hint of hesitation as to whether you’re going to ask for assistance or not. After all, for some people, asking for help is a sign or being needy, incompetent and weak- and you don’t want to be perceived as such.

Work or work out?

Keeping both your career and yourself healthy is definitely a challenge. While a few people manage to master it, for the rest of the hard working 30-somethings out there, it’s just not possible. Being in your 30s – or being old for that matter – may seem like an open invitation for you to stop trying to be healthy and fit. Though it’s not and you’re aware that it’s actually the other way around, you’ve given up on the possibility of going to the gym or at least doing some morning or after-work exercises.

Getting rid of the word “busy” in your vocabulary

Busy is a dreadful word back when you were in your 20s. There was actually a time when you hated being busy and you try your hardest not to be busy. But now that you are in your 30s, “busy” is now a part of your everyday vocabulary – often the next word that comes after every “no” or “sorry”.

Rediscovering spontaneity (a.k.a. taking risks)

When was the last time that you hit the dance floor? Nope, weddings and office parties don’t count. How about that career shift you’ve been thinking about or the business you want to start?

Having everything planned, calculated and budgeted is a sign that you already have things in order. However, the same things prevent you from doing anything random or out of the ordinary. You’ve lost your spontaneity while there’s definitely no room left for improvisation. While it enters your mind to change things a little, you slowly developed a fear for major changes. Career-wise, you may have considered switching jobs or changing careers, but the idea of leaving something that you have built for almost decade or so makes you think twice.

Making new friends

Getting stuck in the same, old social circle seems to be a thing for 30-somethings. After all, why make an effort to meet new friends when you already have really good ones, right? The friends you make in your 30s become more like a professional network you can conduct business with rather than a real social circle that you can hangout and have drinks with. It’s totally understandable especially for a career-driven individual like you, but hey, don’t even bother with “Why am I still single?” nonsense because you know all too well the reason why.


Struggles, problems, difficulties – call them what you want to call them – every working 30-something has them. Some may come naturally and are inherently “attached” with your age while some may be brought about by other factors.

Sounds depressing? It is! But realize this: whatever struggles, problems or difficulties you have, they are never permanent. Every struggle – no matter how unique they are – has a solution. You may not be able to freeze time and stop yourself from turning a certain age, you have the power to overcome any struggles that may come in your 30s and beyond.

Now, who’s ready for their 40s?


Further reading: 

How to negotiate a pay rise

5 common mistakes that can cost your dream job

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